April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Here are 6 Creative Ways to Show Your Support

artwork by Penny Teem, image courtesy the Parkinson's Disease Foundation

artwork by Penny Teem, image courtesy the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF)

Last month cancer got all the headlines and no-make-up selfies were flying around the internet faster you could say: “Prevent cancer, eat real food!”

Well move over cancer, this month we’re all about another disease.

Yep, April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and this is a cause that’s very dear to my heart.

courtesy the PDF

courtesy the PDF

I’ve a close family member who was diagnosed with this horrible disease last year. I’m not deliberately being obtuse by withholding her identity – she is very private and it’s her story to tell, not mine – but suffice to say that I love this person about as much as you can love someone and hearing that news was a difficult day for everyone in our family.

I should also say that Parkinson’s Disease, while not always hereditary, does run in the women in our family. It’s one of my main motivators for eating well, moving frequently and being grateful for my health while I have it.

And my family is not alone. There are between 7 and 10 million people living with PD worldwide, and around a million in the US alone. 

Please get involved this month, any way that you can.

1) Ditch Google for Goodsearch

Did you know you could raise money for PD simply by using a search engine…and it doesn’t cost you a penny?!

Sounds too good to be true, right? Enter Goodsearch, an online search engine that donates half its revenue to the charities that users designate. You simply sign up (for free), select your charity (I chose the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research) and start browsing cat videos (or, y’know, whatever your internet poison is).

2) Send an ecard

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) has a selection of free ecards that you can send and personalise at the click of a mouse. Some of which contain images from the quilt (see #4)

The MJF Foundation offers donation cards, which allows you to donate on someone’s behalf for birthdays or other special occasions. Donations start at $50.

3) Rent a quilt.

Yes, apparently this is a thing. The quilt, brainchild of the PDF, has panels from over 600 participants – all contributing an image that expresses their experiences with the disease. It was displayed at the World Parkinson Congress in September 2010 and now tours around the world for special events and displays. You can apply via the PDF website to bring it to your community to host a PD awareness event.

4) Jog, walk, dance, bake, golf…

There’s a whole range of things going on this month from fun runs, golf tournaments and zumba contests to smoke-outs and pancake parties.

I’m willing to bet there’s a fundraiser near you. Check the PDF list here or join a ‘Team Fox’ event here.

5) Go shopping

I happen to think the ‘Team Fox’ stuff from the MJF Foundation is really, really cool. And the fact that wearing it raises awareness and funding for a great cause only sweetens the deal.

The PDF has t-shirts, wristbands, buttons, posters and more at their store here.

If you don’t want to shop online, get in touch with your local PD charity and ask what you can buy that’ll turn you into a walking billboard for them.

6) Channel your inner Ralph Lauren

Don’t just wear a t-shirt, design a t-shirt. The National Parkinson’s Foundation (NPF) is hosting a competition to let people design a t-shirt for their Moving Day event – the winner gets an ipad mini and the honour of seeing people actually wear the thing.

Check out the details here, and hurry because the competition closes tomorrow!

all the cool kids are Team Fox

all the cool kids are Team Fox

P.S: I left out the most obvious way to help – donate – because that’s not exactly creative. It is important though. I’m a big believer in food as medicine, but sometimes you have to let science do its thing. They are making amazing progress developing treatments for PD, but those treatments aren’t cheap. If you can, please consider donating to the Michael J Fox Foundation (there are a lot of PD charities out there but these guys are my favourites because CharityWatch gives ’em an A+. Also Back To The Future)

P.P.S In case you think I’m not putting my money where my mouth is, I’ll be taking part in my local PD charity’s fun run/walk this weekend. I suspect there’ll be more walking than running but every little helps, right?!

 

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